Is Social Media killing Social Interaction?

social media is smug

If you’ve ever gotten into an elevator and watched everyone pull out their phones, in an effort to avoid having to acknowledge other passengers or say ‘Good Morning’…

If you’ve ever walked out of a bar to have a smoke, quite possibly THE most social place ever, and see a mob of people standing distant from one another all with their phones out…

If you’ve ever walked up to someone on their phone and tried to strike up a conversation, only to be looked up and down in distain and dismissed…

I’m gonna say it.  This whole social media thing is amazing for connecting people at distance.  But when we all come together, no one talks to each other anymore.  At best, it seems awkward to even do so.  We’re becoming a lazy, borderline maliciously anti-social society.  We prefer texts and emails over conversations on the phone.  We prefer tweets and facebook instead of keeping in touch in a more physically interactive way.

Blowback.  Yet another example of things created with the best of intentions that have altered society in a dramatic way.

Would love to hear your feelings on this.

How do you think social media has directly or indirectly affected social interaction?
Do you think there was potentially some dark motive to have this eventually happen?
Who do we lay the initial blame on?  Who was the first?  Chat rooms? IRC? Friendster? MySpace?
Do we put all the fault on facebook and twitter, as they are the “modern” means?

Let me know what you think!

-Nick

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JeramiahDooley
JeramiahDooley
05/31/2012 20:16

I think I understand what you are saying, Nick, but I’m not going to go as far as to blame it on Social Media.  Before cell phones it was iPod headphones, before that people would carry a book or newspaper.  People have always found ways to be selectively anti-social if they wanted to. On the contrary, I think Social Media networks and events have allowed me to meet, and talk to, more interesting people than almost anything else.  I have such free access to people I’d never meet otherwise, it’s hard to see how Social Media has done anything but… Read more »

JoseGerez
JoseGerez
06/01/2012 07:22

I totally agree. Social networks are replacing human contact.
And it’s even worse between teenagers and kids. Here, in Spain, is very common for 10 years old kids to have smartphones with Internet access, so at 14 they all have one. And they never make phone calls, only send messages via whatsapp or access to Tuenti (it’s a social network like Facebook practically only for them)So the thing can only get worse in coming years

Ben
Ben
06/01/2012 18:31

And we vote libertarian?

Tristan Todd
Tristan Todd
06/02/2012 13:16

I hate what social media is doing to face-to-face interactions with people that we know AND with strangers!

Bruce
Bruce
06/04/2012 10:31

One of the most insidious problems with this even goes beyond whether we are having conversations or playing on our phones instead.  Assuming that we are connecting with people with social media, is it yet another (and very effective) screen so that we only ever really interact with very like minded people? My father died about 6 months ago, and I recognize him as coming from a generation of people who could sit down at a bar with people from all walks of life and strike up an unforced conversation.  I am not that way, and I think there has… Read more »

Bruce
Bruce
06/04/2012 10:31

One of the most insidious problems with this even goes beyond whether we are having conversations or playing on our phones instead.  Assuming that we are connecting with people with social media, is it yet another (and very effective) screen so that we only ever really interact with very like minded people? My father died about 6 months ago, and I recognize him as coming from a generation of people who could sit down at a bar with people from all walks of life and strike up an unforced conversation.  I am not that way, and I think there has… Read more »

Cathy
06/04/2012 14:31

I don’t know that it’s killing social interactions – but definitely changing them.  I agree with JeramiahDooley.  People have always found a way to avoid interactions if they didn’t want them.  I thank social media every day.  I would be so isolated if I couldn’t connect virtually.  Working full time and having kids puts me at a disadvantage to have meet-ups and chat in person.  As for those awkward moments in elevators – thank god I have my phone.  ;-)

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[…] I disagree. This debate broke out in a text exchange, admittedly, with my friend Nick Howell, over this blog post. Then I thought about my buddy Brian Katz’s excellent post, Good […]

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